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ENDURO Long-term Test 2014: Introducing the Focus SAM 1.0

It is time to introduce the long term test bike of UK editor and Marketing Manager, Trev Worsey, the Focus SAM1 (Super All Mountain). This was the first bike to arrive in the fleet and Trev has already put in over 880 hard kilometers, 3 enduros, 2 big crashes and 20,000m of climbing on the SAM1, wearing through 2 sets of brake pads and a set of tyres in the process. This bike will be tested hard!

Focus SAM1, 12.92kg, €4999

Focus SAM1, 12.92kg, €4999

I was delighted to receive this bike, I met one of the design team, Fabian Scholtz last year on the EWS circuit and thought his prototype looked amazing. This bike is the result of a full season of testing, and the geometry screams – race bike. With a 65 degree head angle, this bike will need to be wound up to the limit before it will come alive. I am 180cm tall, and went for the medium as the Focus has a long 595mm top tube, I liked the look of the low slung frame as I have short legs and a good standover is critical.

For a high end race bike, I was really happy to see a Rock Shox Pike RC3.  With 160mm on the front and rear it balances nicely with the Monarch + Rear Shock.

For a high end race bike, I was really happy to see a Rock Shox Pike RC. With 160mm on the front and rear it balances nicely with the Monarch Plus Rear Shock.

This is the top end bike from Focus and the spec reflects this, it is all race ready with an XX1 drivetrain, Pike and Monarch + and a Reynolds AM 27.5 Carbon Wheelset. I have raced this already in 3 enduros and have not had to make any changes, it is a true out-of-the-box race bike.

The rear shock is a common 216x63, so changing will be easy if you are looking for something different.

The rear shock is a common 216×63, so changing will be easy if you are looking for something different.

With an 11 Speed SRAM XX1 drivetrain, it is the perfect setup for racing.

With an 11 Speed SRAM XX1 drivetrain, it is the perfect setup for racing.

The Focus is fitted with Avid X0 Trail Brakes, 200mm on the front and 180mm on the rear.  I generally do not get on well with Avid Brakes

The Focus is fitted with Avid X0 Trail Brakes, 200mm on the front and 180mm on the rear. I generally do not get on well with Avid Brakes

The Fizik Tundra 2 looks a bit square, but has proven comfortable so far!  The Stealth Reverb is an essential inclusion for a bike with these aspirations.

The Fizik Tundra 2 looks a bit square, but has proven comfortable so far! The Stealth Reverb is an essential inclusion for a bike with these aspirations.

I live in Innerleithen where the local trails are world class technical enduro trails.  Action is often foot out, flat out, so I stick with the old Shimano DX pedals, heavy but without equal when it comes to agro riding..

I live in Innerleithen where the local trails are world class technical enduro trails. Action is often foot out, flat out, so I stick with the old Shimano DX pedals, heavy but without equal when it comes to agro riding..

With a 777mm Gravity Carbon Bar and a 60mm Stem, the cockpit is well set up for aggressive riding!

With a 777mm Gravity Carbon Bar and a 60mm Stem, the cockpit is well set up for aggressive riding!

I may make some small adjustments before the EWS in the Tweed Valley. I have been experimenting with 35mm stems and really like the snappy steering response, so I may fit one for the race if the stages are really tight and technical. I have never been a fan of Avid brakes, I have found them unreliable in the past, and on the second ride, the lower pivot retaining bolt fell out of the front lever, and I have suffered the wobbly action ever since. They also seem to eat brake pads, but they are the best performing Avids I have used so far.

The Matchmaker clamping system keeps everything tidy.  Though it does stop me from running my Reverb  flipped on the other side, which is the racers choice!

The Matchmaker clamping system keeps everything tidy. Though it does stop me from running my Reverb flipped on the other side, which is the racers choice!

The Reynolds Carbon wheels are a revelation, 1620g's of super stiff, responsive trail slaying wheels!

The Reynolds Carbon wheels are a revelation, 1620g’s of super stiff, responsive trail slaying wheels!

My only addition so far has been a fender.  These are essential in Scotland!

My only addition so far has been a fender. These are essential in Scotland!

I am quite a tyre swapper and will be testing a number of new 27.5 inch tyres on this bike. The standard Hans Dampfs (TS/PS) were great and would be my go-to tyre for all round riding, but they wore out fast in the aggressive terrain in the valley! I am currently testing some WTB Team Issue Vigilantes, which although heavy, have enough grip to pull the skin off the earth! Full review coming soon!

The bike was fitted with the excellent Hans Dampfs, but I have now wore them to shreds, so am now testing some WTB Team Issue WTB Vigilantes!  Heavy but oh so grippy!

The bike was fitted with the excellent Hans Dampfs, but I have now wore them to shreds, so am now testing some WTB Team Issue WTB Vigilantes! Heavy but oh so grippy!

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My focus with the Focus this year is to ride a lot, and race a lot too! I have signed up for the EWS in the Tweed Valley and Finale Ligure, and will also be racing in the POC Scottish Series, Irish Champs, UKGE, some of the EES rounds and the Bluegrass race in Sicily. However, this bike has to be more than a race bike, it needs to handle daily adventures, simple dog walks, long tours and some lift assisted alpine riding! Will the SAM1 be too uncompromising to be a do-it all machine, find out in the ride review soon!

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Born: 1978 | Biking since: 1990’s | Height: 180cm | Weight: 80kg | Job: Editor & Marketing Manager at ENDURO | @Strava

Words and photos: Trev Worsey

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